While millions of Americans struggle on reduced paychecks or unemployment, Wall Street is returning to the high salaries of yesteryear, the New York Times reports. Enjoying strong first-quarter profits, six of the most powerful banks have reserved $36 billion to pay workers—suggesting that paychecks and bonuses have recovered for the rank-and-file. “Like everything on Wall Street, they’re starting to sin again,” one analyst said.
Banks argue that they must pay well to retain workers. To deflect criticism, a few banks plan to recoup bonuses from employees whose bets don't pay off. But some shareholders are irate, saying that improved revenue should go toward replacing their lost dividends. The high percentage of revenue going to compensation "is an indication that the root problem has not been addressed," said one critic.